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Maryland experts offer advice on keeping New Year's Eve safe in Anne Arundel

Two organizations with headquarters in Bethesda released information on best practices regarding fireworks and alcohol this New Years holiday and also dispel some myths. The pandemic risks remain, but even before COVID-19 there were dangers that may be increased at this time of year.

American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation as well as the federal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, are hoping revelers take a little time to consider safety as they ring in 2022.


New Years is a time when some people are more likely to drink beyond their limits than at other times of the year. Some people will suffer bad results from their drinking, ranging from fights to falls to traffic crashes.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you host a holiday gathering:

  • Offer a variety of nonalcoholic drinks—water, juices, sparkling sodas. Nonalcoholic drinks help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Also, the other fluids may slow the rate of alcohol absorption into the body and reduce the peak alcohol concentration in the blood. They also provide your guests with alternatives to alcohol.

  • Provide a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Food can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce the peak level of alcohol in the body by about one-third. Food can also minimize stomach irritation and gastrointestinal distress the following day.

  • Help your guests get home safely—use designated drivers and taxis. Anyone getting behind the wheel of a car should not have ingested any alcohol.

  • If you are a parent, understand the underage drinking laws—and set a good example.

Sobering Up—Myths and Facts

Myth: Drink coffee. Caffeine will sober you up.

Fact: Caffeine may help with drowsiness but not with the effects of alcohol on decision-making or coordination. The body needs time to metabolize (break down) alcohol and then to return to normal. Also, when caffeine wears off, your body will need to deal with post- caffeine sleepiness, which adds to alcohol-induced sleepiness. There are no quick cures—only time will help.

Myth: You can drive as long as you are not slurring your words or acting erratically.

Fact: The coordination needed for driving is compromised long before you show signs of intoxication and your reaction time is slowed. Plus, the sedative effects of alcohol increase your risk of nodding off or losing attention behind the wheel.

Myth: The warm feeling you get from drinking alcohol insulates you from the cold of winter. When you're drinking, there's no need to wear a coat when it's cold outside.

Fact: Alcohol widens the tiny blood vessels right under the skin, so they quickly fill with warm blood. This makes you feel warm or hot, and can cause your skin to flush and perspire. But your body temperature is actually dropping, because while alcohol is pulling warmth from your body's core to the skin surface, it is also depressing the area of your brain that controls temperature regulation. In cold environments, this can lead to hypothermia. So, wear a coat when it's cold outside, particularly if you are drinking alcohol.

Have a safe holiday season!

For information about alcohol use disorder and how to get help, please visit:

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health. Visit


Millions of Americans will ring in the New Year with sparklers, firecrackers, trick noisemakers and a variety of consumer fireworks. With the recent surge in the Omicron COVID-19 variant, many families are planning to bring the New Year's celebration home to their backyards. "With families planning to say goodbye to 2021 and celebrate welcoming 2022 at home with sparklers and other types of backyard fireworks, safety must be a top priority," cautioned Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation (APSEF).

Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees!

It is important that families take the time to plan their fireworks celebrations by selecting a safe location that is free of debris and has a flat level surface. Additionally, make certain to read and follow all instructions for use and keep spectators at a safe distance. "Sparklers are a very popular item for families to use on New Year's Eve. However, because sparklers burn at a temperature of approximately 1,800°F, care must be taken to use them properly, especially around children," said Ron Zoldan, APSEF President.

In a brief animated safety video featuring Professor Sparkz, the APSEF urges parents and children to Celebrate Safely this New Year's Eve by explaining tips on how to use sparklers properly and safely.

The APSEF encourages families to observe local laws and be especially mindful of restrictions on fireworks usage in areas affected by dry or drought conditions. Please be considerate of your neighbors as unexpected fireworks use can be traumatic for military veterans, families with young children, and pets.

The public can learn more about how to #CelebrateSafely by downloading these safety tips

Remember to #CelebrateSafely this New Year's Eve!

SOURCE American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation

--from press releases

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